CFP Teams Set: Oddsmakers Heavily Favor Alabama and Clemson

by Rick Rockwell
on December 4, 2018
3

Minute Read

On Sunday, the College Football Playoff Committee announced the four teams to make the playoffs and play for the National Championship. As expected, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma all made the final four. What wasn’t expected was how sportsbooks viewed these matchups. According to the majority of online sportsbooks, both Alabama and Clemson opened as double-digit favorites in their respective matchups.

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College football betting sites have Alabama listed as a 14-point favorite over Oklahoma and Clemson listed as an 11-point favorite over Notre Dame. This marks the first time in the current playoff format that both semi-final games have double-digit spreads.

Let’s take a closer look at these opening CFP betting lines:

Oklahoma vs Alabama Early NCAAF Odds

Alabama has been the consensus #1 pick all season long. So, it’s no surprise that the Crimson Tide are a huge favorite over the Sooners. According to BetOnline, Alabama is a 14-point favorite over Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide have a -525 moneyline and the Sooners have a +430 moneyline. The Over/Under is set at 79.5 total points.

Alabama (13-0) has been favored in 52 straight games and 125 out of their last 126 games. It’s been over 3 years since the Crimson Tide was an underdog. On that occasion, Alabama was a 1 point underdog to Georgia in 2015. Alabama defeated Georgia on Saturday to win the SEC Championship and lock up the #1 seed in the CFP.

Oklahoma (12-1) won the Big 12 Championship after defeating Texas over the weekend. With their win, and Georgia’s loss to Alabama in the SEC title game, the Sooners moved up from #5 to #4 in the standings and earned a coveted spot in the College Football Playoffs.

The last time these two teams played, Alabama was a 17-point favorite over the Sooners in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma was able to pull off the big upset by defeating the Crimson Tide 45 to 31. In total, these two programs have played against each other 4 times with Oklahoma leading the head-to-head series 3-1-1.

The Sooners have won three straight against the Crimson Tide.

Notre Dame vs Clemson Early NCAAF Odds

In the other semifinal, The Clemson Tigers are an 11-point favorite over the Fighting Irish. The Tigers have been widely considered as the #2 team all year long. Clemson (13-0) secured their spot in the CFP by defeating Pittsburgh in the ACC Title game.

Notre Dame (12-0) is the one team out of these 4 schools to not have played in a title game. However, they did have an impressive season going undefeated and beating ranked teams like: Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, and Syracuse.

BetOnline, and other online sportsbooks, have listed Clemson with a -410 moneyline and the Fighting Irish with a +340 moneyline. The Over/Under is set at 55 total points.

Clemson and Notre Dame have played against each other 3 times, with the Tigers holding a 2-1 advantage. They last faced off on the gridiron in October 2015, and the Tigers won 24 to 22.

Alabama and Clemson Odds to Win Championship

Vegas sportsbooks already have Alabama as a 6-point favorite over Clemson if the two teams were to face off in the Championship game. Internet sportsbooks have several college football futures bets about these two programs playing in the championship game, including the following:

Alabama or Clemson to Win the Championship

  • Yes: -800
  • No: +600

Head to Head Future Bets

  • Alabama to beat Clemson in the Championship Game (-125)
  • Clemson to beat Alabama in the Championship Game (+400)
For comparison, Notre Dame defeating Oklahoma in the Championship Game is listed as a +5000 betting line.

Will Alabama Win the CFP Playoffs?

  • Yes: -220
  • No: +180

Will Clemson Win the CFP Playoffs?

  • Yes: +310
  • No: -370
For comparison, Notre Dame is +1400 to win the CFP and Oklahoma is +1000.

Final Thoughts on the Final 4 for the CFP

I believe the committee got the final four teams right. Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame all did enough during the season to earn a CFP spot. Oklahoma was the next team in line, if Georgia were to fall. Since the Bulldogs lost to Alabama, the Sooners definitely deserved the 4th seed.

Both of these semifinal matchups are exciting even if the oddsmakers view that Alabama and Clemson are superior to Notre Dame and Oklahoma. We’ll be examining all of these future bets and the semifinal matchups as we get closer to the games.

If you are eager to bet on college football, and can’t wait for more in-depth analysis, then I would say that the safe CFP future bet listed above is the -800 line for Alabama or Clemson to win the CFP title.

The best value of the future bets would be Clemson at +310 to win the championship or Clemson defeating Alabama for the title at +400.
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